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letters to a friend

by lazyguppy


Web Site

(based on 3 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

letters to a friend is a short interactive fiction of a shut-in going through a tough time whilst receiving letters from a stranger.

⚠️content warning: depression + anxiety


use the arrow keys to move around and interact.

** click on the title screen at the beginning if the page is unresponsive.**

Game Details


Entrant - Neo-Twiny Jam


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Number of Reviews: 3
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Taking out the trash, with a side-dish of hope, August 28, 2023
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)
Related reviews: Neo Twiny Jam

Bitsy has been a very valuable defense against having too much angst at once from a game. For me it reinforces that the game is not trying to crush you with detail. It says, I'm trying to paint with relatively broad strokes with these pixels, and you may fill the details in, if you wish. And so I do, much more than with much slicker productions. Perhaps it also says, to someone who remembers GameBoys and GameBoy Colors, that there was more than just basic shoot-em-ups available there, and we can still find them.

That's not to say it invokes nostalgia, but it reminds me that progress needn't be just about higher graphical detail or more color or whatever. It reminds me of stuff I always wanted to do, of my own basic programming efforts to move someone around with a cursor and arrows on the Apple. And yet at the still at the same time it can still give a complete and small world.

Even if the world is, technically, only two rooms large, as in Letters To a Friend. That's more than okay. And the whole "my apartment and I'm lonely and maybe it's COVID" thing. But the apartment itself is kind of cheery, with a wardrobe and such. As you bounce into scenery, you note things like you haven't really needed to buy any clothes, but you really should take the recycling out, because this sort of stuff does pile up.

And that's the main thrust of the game. You haven't checked your mail from a while, and there are letters from a friend. The catch is, it's someone you don't know. And you figure they must be regular. It reminded me of emails I forgot to send back and emails I didn't receive back, and I promptly went out and wrote them. It ends on a positive note. (Though I'd have liked an ending screen instead of scrolling back to the top.)

Elitists may claim this sort of thing doesn't wash in the long run, but seeing a regular drip of efforts like this certainly make me want to try something in Bitsy. It's versatile and lets you say what you mean to say, without feeling you have to oversell it, and that hits me as an author and reader/player. The one-bit graphics give a certain charm that say "You know, I'd like this character to live in more than two rooms, nice as it is," even as another part of your brain might be horrified at the thought of living in two rooms for so long.

Bitsy seems to have a certain baseline and shell against really rough stuff--it's hard to do anything to gross anyone out--and LtaF goes well above that. Maybe the novelty of Bitsy will wear off for me, but then, when I first saw it, I thought it would wear off quite fast. It hasn't, because of efforts like this.

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Brief Binksi game about a kind stranger, July 20, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This game is a Binksi game, which uses minimal pixel art and animations to create an environment for narrative storytelling.

The story told here is about a shut-in whose depression is keeping them from finding enjoyment in any of their previous activities.

But then checking the mail reveals numerous messages from an anonymous penpal. The sustained communication from a stranger provides some solace.

I've seen this effect before in real life; I've definitely benefited from regular contact with people I don't even know that well. So I liked that part. Some of the story really stretched suspension of disbelief though; I wonder if simulating a longer time period might have worked better, even without additional words (like having it get dark and light again each time you get a letter).

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Stranger, not always danger…, June 24, 2023
by manonamora
Related reviews: neotwinyjam

From a simple addressing mistake, a stranger sends you letters about mundane things happening to them, their worries, and hopes. Like some sort of bizarre one-way pen-pal, the stranger tries to reach out to you, a shut-in, or maybe just finds comfort in the knowledge that maybe someone sees them.

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This is version 1 of this page, edited by manonamora on 21 June 2023 at 6:37pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page